PCHR condemns attack on journalists in Gaza

PCHR condemns the attack on reporters and cameramen of local and international news agencies, while they were reporting on an explosion that occurred in a house in Gaza. PCHR considers the attacks an assault against free press and the right to receive and impart information.

The attack took place when a number of journalists were reporting on an explosion which occurred in al-Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City on Thursday, October 31, 2002. Three members of ‘Ezziddin al-Qassam Brigade, the military wing of Hamas, were killed in the process of making bombs. The journalists who were attacked are: Shams al-Din ‘Abdul Rahman ‘Oudetallah, a cameraman of Reuters news agency; Khaled al-Ashqar, a cameraman of Palestine Television; Najib Abu al-Jabin, a photographer of Associated Press; ‘Aadel Hana, a photographer of Associated Press; and Ahmed Jadallah Salem, a cameraman of Reuters news agency.

In their testimonies to PCHR, these journalists said that a number of the people, who were located on the scene of the explosion, beat them up and damaged their cameras, while other people mounted roofs of houses and threw stones at them.

Immediately after the attack, Hamas issued a statement, in which it condemned attacking journalists, and expressed appreciation of journalists’ role in showing the suffering of the Palestinian people and revealing the practices of the Israeli occupying forces.

PCHR condemns this attack on journalists and call for respect for press freedom ensured by international human rights instruments, especially article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which assert the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including receiving and imparting information and ideas. PCHR calls upon the Palestinian National Authority to initiate an investigation into this attack and take the necessary legal steps against its perpetrators.

Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, PO Box 1328, Gaza, Tel +972 8 282 4776, web: www.pchrgaza.org